“Skills make dreams happen. They build economies. They make people rich and famous. In today’s world, the demands for skills are staggering.”
– Emi Iyalla
In 2014, the United Nations (UN) gave official recognition to World Youth Skills Day, which is now commemorated on 15 July every year – with the first-ever World Youth Skills Day being commemorated on 15 July 2015.
The aim of World Youth Skills Day is to create awareness surrounding youth skills development, which is essential for improving the socio-economic conditions and future prospects of all. The UN believes that, by equipping the youth with essential job-relevant skills, we can ensure that young people are able to “make a smooth transition to work.”[i]
As UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon himself stated:
Skills development reduces poverty and better equips young people to find decent jobs. It triggers a process of empowerment and self-esteem that benefits everyone. And it strengthens youth capacity to help address the many challenges facing society, moving us closer to ending poverty, hunger, injustice and environmental degradation. [ii]
The challenges Mr Ki-moon mentions are challenges that are particularly prevalent in South African society. According to a Global Forum Report by UNESCO-UNEVOC:
Unemployment [in South Africa] is between 25 and 40 per cent, depending on the definition used, with 70 per cent of the unemployed having 12 years or less of schooling. There are 3.4 million young people aged between 15 and 24 not in employment, education or training. [iii]
So how do we address the issue of unemployment?
While unemployment is a complex problem to solve, there are certain steps we can take to address the issue. One of these steps is focusing on skills development. If we can equip our youth, and the South African population as a whole, with the skills required to build our economy and drive economic growth, we can help not only to reduce unemployment, but also to increase socio-economic wealth in our communities.
Some of the important skills we need to focus on in this context include:
Without basic literacy skills (such as reading, writing, and comprehension skills), it is nearly impossible to acquire the other skills needed to play an active role in the economy.
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Basic financial skills are essential for managing a personal budget, and are also handy in the working environment. If you want to start your own business, for example, or if you want to work in any type of managerial role, you need to be able to grasp the financial implications of every action and every decision.
Advanced financial skills are also important – according to the Career Junction Index published in 2016, there is growing demand for employees in the Finance sector. [iv]
Engineering skills are needed to maintain existing infrastructure, as well as to develop new infrastructure (both of which are important for economic growth). And according to ManpowerGroup’s Talent Shortage Survey 2015, engineering jobs are the second-most difficult jobs for employers to fill in the Asia Pacific and EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) regions – and the third-most difficult jobs for employers to fill globally. [v]
This indicates that there is a major shortage of engineering skills – not only locally, but globally as well.
Information technology (IT) skills are essential for everybody, not only for those who want to work in IT. Basic computer literacy, for example, is a requirement for almost any type of job these days. Whether you want to work as a secretary, a teacher, a nurse, a general manager, or an IT professional, you will need to know how to use a computer. And often, the more effectively you are able to use a computer, the more effectively you will be able to do your job.
Additionally, the IT sector provides a wide range of employment opportunities. According to the Career Junction Index, it is ranked number one in terms of employment prospects in South Africa. [vi]
Entrepreneurial skills are the skills you need to start, and run, your own business. Due to the high unemployment rate in South Africa, combined with low economic growth, entrepreneurs – through the creation of small businesses – have a key role to play in job creation and other aspects of building the economy.
Where does Oxbridge Academy fit in?
At Oxbridge Academy, we believe that accessible skills development has a vital role to play in developing our country’s economy. And as a private distance learning college offering courses at the further education and training level, we are committed to empowering students by giving them the opportunity to develop their skills despite the social, economic, and other challenges with which they might be faced.
Consider the following scenarios:
- You want to study further, but you don’t have Matric.
- You want to go to college, but you stay far away from the nearest campus, and you can’t afford the transport or accommodation costs.
- You want to study toward a qualification, but you have to work full-time to support your family.
- You want to study, but you have to stay at home to take care of your siblings, children, or older relatives.
In each of these instances, Oxbridge Academy provides a solution – an option to study on a part-time basis from home.
In addition, Oxbridge Academy gives students the option to pay their fees in affordable monthly instalments, making further education more accessible to those who do not have the means to take out a student loan, or to pay for their studies in full upfront.
To find out about the other ways in which we demonstrate our commitment to skills development and student empowerment, click on the following links:
- About Oxbridge Academy
- Why Choose Oxbridge Academy?
- Empowerment through Education
- How We Help You Advance Your Career
To see the full list of skills development courses and national qualifications available at Oxbridge Academy: